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JaceBeck 03-11-2004 09:32 AM

Wheel Bearing Repack?
I have now had my Safari for 4 years and have never had the bearings repacked or the barke shoes checked. Everything works fine, but we are taking a 3K mile trip this summer. I have had very poor experience with my local A/S dealer and don't want them working on the trailer unless absolutely necessary. I have no place to do the work myself.

What is the consensus for getting the bearings repacked and the brake shoes changed out? The rig has about 10-12K miles on it.

pjlingl 03-11-2004 10:00 AM

I get my beardings and brakes checked every 6-7,000 miles which is every other year in my case. Any Rv shop or trailer shop can do the work. I am about 150 miles from the Airstream Dealer so I take mine to a local SOB dealer. He always does a good job and it costs about $100.00. Best wishes. Jeff

jim8860 03-11-2004 10:20 AM

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If you are going to do the job yourself. Send some dollars on this thing . Snapon,Sears and anypalce thast sells good tools can or will have it for you. The job is easy good luck.

bryanl 03-11-2004 12:20 PM

for a picture story on repacking bearings, tips, and links to browse to learn more.

Repacking bearings is a maintenance procedure. You can always skimp on preventive maintenance but should be aware that doing so increases risk of failures.

Recommendations are to repack bearings once a year, especially if your trailer sits for several months. Repacking not only assures proper bearing lubrication but also serves as a means to inspect the running gear and brakes for wear or leaks or other potential problems that can be caught earlier rather than later, like on the road.

Big Dee 03-11-2004 04:12 PM

My A/S dealer tech said repack every 10,000 miles. I've also heard every year. So I repack every year. to be on the safe side.

bryanl 03-11-2004 04:33 PM


My A/S dealer tech said repack every 10,000 miles. I've also heard every year.
If you look at any automotive type maintenance schedule, you will usually find a time or miles criteria.

for instance:

3,000 miles or 3 months for lube and oil.

10,000 miles or 1 year for trailer wheel bearings.

30,000 miles or two years for auto bearings

are typical.

Tires are the same way. Miles by tread or 5-7 years.

luckydc 03-11-2004 05:36 PM

The 2004 Bambi owners manual says to clean and repack wheel bearings every 10,000 miles or 6 months.

WayWard Wind 03-11-2004 07:01 PM

Jace --I know what you mean by the "dealer". I think we are talking about the same location. I called there just to see if I could order the bearings, seals, etc & they said " gee we just go down to the local NAPA store & get some". I'm not a mechanic so I can't say if there are any differences on where you get the parts. I called A/S & of course they said the bearing ,etc was made for that make of hub. Whether or not that's true I can't say, so just to be on the safe side,I ordered the suggested parts from Ace-Fognal in Iowa, as I plan on doing the repack myself.

rluhr 03-11-2004 08:20 PM


The 2004 Bambi owners manual says to clean and repack wheel bearings every 10,000 miles or 6 months.
Every six months you're supposed to repack the bearings? Come on, can that be for real?

Does anyone do that? I sure as heck don't.

Scaler113 03-11-2004 09:35 PM

I am getting ready to pack the wheel barings on our AS. Yesterday I went to the AS dealer in Tacoma WA to get new seals. They did not know the size. Last night I pulled a wheel and have the seal and bearings. Tomorrow on the way from work I will stop at an industrial bearing supply place and they should be able to measure and sell me seals. Although the bearings look good I plan to have one set on hand in case of bearing failure. We will probasbly use our AS for a max of 5000 mile a year for the next few years so I feel packing the wheel bearings once a year is plenty, maybe over kill. I suspect just sitting for long periods is not good for the bearings.

qqq 03-11-2004 11:48 PM


Great link, Thanks


the ponz 03-13-2004 08:14 PM

I recently purchased a 31' sovereign in very good condition. The last thing I did was pull the wheels and hubs to inspect what was underneath, as I had a 500 mile trip home. Two sets of bearings were bad and two brake magnets were inop due to broken wires. On Sunday afternoon, the former owner drove to the local auto parts store with the bad bearings in hand. He returned an hour later with two new bearings and a tub of grease. I cleaned and repacked all eight bearings. The former owner was a bit upset as he had them repacked within the last two years, less than 10k miles on the trailer since that time.

Moral is to check the brakes and repack bearing yearly.


Tarheel 03-13-2004 08:31 PM

I agree with Bryan, I repack bearings annually. I have never found a problem with the bearings but I have found broken brake springs and out of adjustment brakes. Its just a good way to look over the tires, while you have them off and check for broken wires on the brakes. Last fall I did this and still had a broken brake spring 3 hours away from home. It can happen no matter what precautions you take.

Happycampers 03-13-2004 09:16 PM

Great Post, just in time to remind me how inportant this is. Going to move our 75 Argosy next month, we just bought it and the owner is letting us leave it there for a month till the weather gets better, I want to repack the bearings and check the brakes before I move it. That is probably the most neglected thing on a trailer of any kind. Thanks Marvin

overlander64 03-13-2004 10:34 PM

Wheel Bearing Repack?
Greetings JaceBeck!


What is the consensus for getting the bearings repacked and the brake shoes changed out? The rig has about 10-12K miles on it.
I am not a do-it-yourselfer either, and if your travel plans take you in a Southerly direction; you are only about 210 miles from Cedar Falls, Iowa. In Cedar Falls, you will find an Airstream dealer whom I trust and have no qualms about recommending to my fellow Airstreamers. I have trusted them with all maintenance and virtually all repairs on both of my Vintage coaches. In more than eight years, every project that they have completed has proven to be reliable and VERY well done. In fact, my plans are to make an annual trip back to Cedar Falls for inspection and repairs on the coach that will be used for my major summer travel plans even when I move to my new home that will be 600 miles from Cedar Falls. (I currently travel 180 miles to Cedar Falls from the Illinois Quad Cities when my coaches need service/repairs.)

While I would certainly expect to have the bearings repacked on a coach the age and mileage of yours, I would not expect the brakes to need major service beyond some possible adjustment. I have been in the habit of having Ace Fogdall's Service Department perform a major inspection on whichever coach I plan for my long Summer expedition (bearing/brake service, clean/inspect/adjust all LP Gas appliance burners, test LP Regulator, check battery condition, check operation of Univolt, and check/inspect air conditioner - - I trust their service technicians to level with me regarding needed service and I have followed their recommendations without any regrets. Even with coaches 26 and 40 years old, I have been fortunate through careful attention to detail and the regular attention of caring, qualified mechanics to be on the road for several weeks each summer without significant mechanical or coach problems - - the extent has been a shorted switch in the electric tongue jack on the Overlander (2001), and a shorted out brake magnet on the Overlander (1999) (after more than 6,000 miles of travel following its pre-trip check-up).

Good luck with your pre-trip preparations!


Pick 03-14-2004 06:52 AM

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When I pulled my hubs for the first time, during the axle change out. The grease had broken down to the point of being the consistancy of pancake syrup. Concerned about the bearing condition, I took them up to the local NAPA auto parts store, and we compared them on the counter to a new set. We determined that my set was still in good condition, so re-used them. I repacked with Amsoil synthetic grease. I used the same device that Jim8860 posted a picture of.

Tarheel 03-14-2004 08:23 AM

We are all concerned about the running gear on our rigs as well we should be. When was the last time you had the rear bearings repacked on your auto or truck? My Jeep has 125 k miles on it and they have never been repacked. It makes sense to look at your wheels and tires on regular basis. Even sitting up there is condensate that gets in there. It certainly makes you feel better when you get out on the road to know that you have done all you can to make the trip a safe one. I'm leaving next month on an 8,000 mile cross country trip. I have extra spare tires and a complete brake set that I am taking. I don't expect to have to use any of it, but I am prepared.
Check those wheels everytime you stop. A tire low on air will run much hotter than the ones that are properly inflated. On long trips check the air pressure before leaving in the AM it could prevent a blowout on the highway. Tires and bearings usually give you pleanty of warning if you will just pay a little attention to them.

Scaler113 03-14-2004 09:14 AM

I repacked the wheel bearing on our AS yesterday. They looked good so I replaced only seals. I bought an extra set of Timken bearings and a seal to carry on the AS. I had to drive a cup out of the hub to get the part number. The brakes looked good but I had not considered carrying replcement parts. I had an old device to pack the grease in the bearings from years ago but I had not stored it properly and it had attracted so much dirt that I did not want to use it. I packed them buy hand which forces the grease in well also. For this procject I used surgical type rubber disposable gloves we buy at Costco. By changing gloves frequently I keep from getting grease all over.

Tarheel 03-14-2004 01:13 PM

Phil I pack mine by hand as well, then wipe the excess grease on my pants. I don't know why my wife gets upset when I put them in the clothes hamper with all the other clothes. I've watched the Tide commercials they get all the stubborn stains out. BTW do you have a part number for that rear seal?

Scaler113 03-14-2004 11:43 PM

I do not have a parts number for the inner wheel seal. I went into the AS dealer in Tacoma Wa and they said they pull the seal out and take it to Six Roblees, an industrial truck brake supplier nearby, and get a seal. I pulled a seal out and took it in and the counter guy looked at it and went in the back room and came out with some just like it. I asked how he knew it was the right one and he said it is a very commen trailer seal. It has no numbers or package but fits. I have bearing numbers if any one is interested.

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